Wednesday, November 7, 2007
To the community of Sunnyside...this last month we endured every parent's nightmare, the loss of our beloved son BJ. During this time our family was overwhelmed by the outpouring of comfort and friendship by so many of you in this community.
I have lived in this community all my life, born and raised here and so was BJ. We participated with him in all school and community activities; it was a true blessing to be able to parent him in the community of Sunnyside.
I feel a need to share with my community an incident that took place during our unimaginable time of grief. While we were preparing for our son's celebration of life ceremony, it was obvious that we would need a large location to accommodate his many friends and family. To my surprise, close friends who were helping with the plans had heard from the Sunnyside School District. A generous offer was made of the use of the high school facility as a location for the ceremony. As my family, John and I made plans with the funeral home, the date, time and location were confirmed by the building principal that we would hold our ceremony at the Sunnyside High auditorium. The obituary was written with this information and released for printing on Monday.
On that same Sunday evening, we were notified that the superintendent of our district (Dr. Rick Cole) had changed his mind. We were told he would not be able to accommodate our ceremony. He asked that we make an appointment to see him to discuss the matter. We were frustrated and confused how this could be when it had been confirmed one day prior on the phone in the presence of the funeral directors. We certainly could not on these most sorrowful days take time to make an appointment to discuss the issue.
We believe that the community is an extension of the family. We, to say the least, are disappointed by the actions taken by Dr. Cole with no further explanation than to make an appointment with him to discuss the matter during the hardest week of our life. I feel if an offer is made and problems arise later that would make it difficult for you to fulfill your promise you do what you need to do to make it work. This is not the level of integrity displayed by our superintendent.
As the rumor mill spreads through Sunnyside (we are a family) I want you to know that this did happen to our family as stated above.
I would like to end this letter stating that God's plan is always best. We held our ceremony in our large, humble location of St. Joseph's gym. With those of you present, flowers and balloons it was a celebration that BJ is proud of.
God bless you.
/s/ Daria and John Miller, Sunnyside